Gifts: they make us feel special, particularly when it comes outside of any special occasion. And while it’s quick and easy to pick up a bottle of wine, a bunch of flowers, or a gift card, there are plenty of gizmos and gadgets you can get across a range of budgets that can put a grin on someone’s face.
Electronics make for excellent presents as they’re such an integral part of our daily lives, and there’s a ton of gadgets out there to choose from.
Don’t think it’s only the tech-savvy among us who these presents are suited for – whether you’re looking to surprise that special someone, spoil your kids, or even your tech-wary grandparents, we’ve got a gift idea for you.
From the latest gizmos to the innovations you mightn’t have heard of yet, we’ve rounded up 15 tech gift ideas to suit all kinds of budgets. Whether you’re shopping for a birthday present, an anniversary gift or any day in between, here are our picks for the best gadgets you can give anyone.
Do you know someone who’s still carting around a mess of tangled earphones? It’s time to help them cut the cord. These true wireless earbuds from Jabra are the company’s latest, and they’re smaller than their predecessors, making them look unobtrusive when worn. Thanks to a few different choices of ear tips in the box, they should fit just about anyone. Battery life has improved immensely too, with up to seven hours of charge in the ‘buds alone and plenty more backup juice available in the case. The sound is bass-heavy out of the box, but if it’s not to their tastes, it’s easily adjusted using the equaliser on the Jabra Sound+ app.
The Chromecast Ultra is a small device with powerful 4K streaming capabilities. It’s a gift for someone who wants the ability to ‘cast’ content from their smartphone, tablet or laptop, and mirror it on their telly – though they will need a 4K TV set with an HDMI port to make the most of the Chromecast Ultra, as it won’t improve image quality if the TV panel isn’t UHD. While it’s a great gift for our older loved ones who don’t own a smart telly, the lack of a remote control might be problematic if they’re not comfortable using playback controls on their handheld device or laptop. But quick access to Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime, as well as any YouTube clip or Zoom video chat in 4K clarity is pretty darn neat.
Nintendo released the ever-popular Switch back in 2017, but not content to rest on its laurels, the company released a smaller version last year – the Switch Lite. It’s the perfect gift for someone who enjoys gaming from a lightweight, portable and handheld device. Unlike the original Switch, they won’t be able to play through a TV set, though they’ll still have access to Nintendo Switch titles that support handheld mode. There are a couple of eye-popping colours to choose from as well, so it’ll feel a little more personal.
The Boom 3 pumps out loud 360° sound, and is pretty powerful considering its size. This portable Bluetooth speaker is for someone who likes to take their music with them – whether they’re entertaining in the backyard, lazing by the pool or roughing it on a camping trip. And the Boom 3 is tough enough to handle the outdoors, thanks to its IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating. There’s up to 15 hours of battery life from a single charge, so they’ll always have their favorite tunes, no matter where adventure takes them.
The perfect present for the one curious about a smart home setup is the Google Nest Mini. It’s an entry-level smart speaker with Google Assistant onboard, and it’s diminutive size means it can easily and discreetly fit into any part of the home. This is for the person who wants hands-free help around the house – whether that’s listening to the news, unwinding with their favorite podcast or audiobook, or getting answers to almost any question they can think of. And at this price point, you’ll be gifting your loved one a whole lot for relatively little.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is our favorite instant camera, so if you’re looking to give someone a fun and memorable gift, this is close to perfect. This latest version of the Instax has auto exposure and a minimalist design, removing the guesswork of which button to use. That means almost anyone will be able to pick it up and start snapping straight out of the box. A particularly great present for the young ones, or those who are young at heart, who are keen on photography and want to start experimenting with film. Speaking of which, the film needed to use this shooter is among the most affordable you can buy.
Our smartphones gave everyone the ability to capture memories with a camera, and now, the pocket-sized printer is a reimagined way to keep them. The Canon Ivy Mini Photo Printer instantly produces small 2x3-inch prints – perfect sized mementos for wallets, DIY photo projects and social events. It’s incredibly easy to use, with a Bluetooth connection and the Canon Mini Print app all that’s required to get started. The companion app will allow them to personalize their happy snaps too, with filters, frames and stickers to choose from.
Note: This product is called Canon Zoemini Photo Printer in the UK, and Canon Mini Photo Printer in Australia.
Kindle might be the name you know when it comes to ereaders, but Kobo is giving it a run for its money. The Clara HD is more affordable than its Kindle Paperwhite counterpart, and the user interface is excellent with a screen that’s sharp and responsive. The Kobo Clara HD is a particularly great gift for someone with a public library membership. With OverDrive support available right out of the box, they’ll easily be able to borrow books from their local library if they’d prefer to not buy ebooks outright. They can read those books on a six-inch front-lit display, which has a blue-light filter and automatically adjusts the screen brightness during the twilight hours. A dream present for the late-night bookworm.
The Tile Sticker is an ideal gift for your forgetful friend or family member. If someone you care about is constantly misplacing their wallet, phone or keys, Tile offers a range of trackers to reunite them with their lost belongings. The Tile Sticker is a small, self-adhesive Bluetooth tracker that can stick firmly to a variety of objects and can be located from as far away as 150 feet (46 metres) using the companion app. The Tile Sticker is also waterproof, so it can be attached to outdoor valuables – such as bikes and scooters – and won’t budge in the rain.
There’s more to these stylish sunglasses than meets the eye. There’s a tiny audio system built inside the arms of these glasses, so the wearer can walk around a park or laze at the beach while listening to music undetected. That’s a great proposition for those who don’t like their ears blocked, or aren’t crazy about carting around a set of headphones – especially when enjoying the great outdoors. These sunglasses look great too, with two classic styles available that will suit almost anyone. The Frames have about three and a half hours of battery life, so while we don’t think they’re set to replace headphones as the audio must-have, they’re certainly a unique gift.
For a no-fuss fitness tracker that will suit just about anyone, you can’t go past the Fitbit Inspire HR. This is the wearable to get if you know someone looking to kickstart their fitness journey. Along with the regular step counting and activity tracking, the Inspire HR has added a heart rate monitor, so they can better track their calorie burn, and get insight into their heart rate trends over time. Swimmers will appreciate that it can be taken for a dip in the pool too. It’s one of the more affordable wearables from Fitbit, but has a very premium-feel design.
We could all sit up a little straighter, and the Upright Go 2 has set out to help us achieve just that. This posture trainer is for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting (ahem, slouching) in their office chair, and needs a gentle reminder to sit up straight. This neat device attaches to the wearer’s back with adhesive strips, and provides feedback through a subtle vibration once synced with the compatible app. It’s discreet to wear too, so nobody will know about their newfound companion. The adhesive strips do last a while and the glue is skin-friendly. Additionally, there’s a necklace accessory made from silicone that can be used if someone isn’t comfortable with having something sticky on their back.
For the gift that will be welcomed by just about anyone, you can’t go past a wireless charger. This one from Belkin is for smartphones – both Android and iOS – and would be well-suited to someone who picks up and puts down their phone often at their desk, or on a bedside table overnight. It’s got 10 watts of charging power, and the stand design means they can easily check their notifications while their handset continues to be topped up. It’s our number one rated wireless charger, so you can’t go wrong with this present.
It’s small, it’s light, and it’s one of the most affordable drones you can buy from DJI. The Mavic Mini is an entry-level quadcopter, perfect for anyone who’s been keen to take to the skies but has felt a little intimidated by the bigger drones on the market. This is a drone that fits into the palm of a hand, and its miniature design means they won’t have to register it with their country's aviation authority. Video capture is super smooth, so anyone can pick it up and shoot in up to 2.4K HD quality. An ideal present for newcomers to aerial videography and photography, or those who want to capture memories of their holidays in a one-of-a-kind way.
Remember the good old days when your parents would treat you to a special gift, only to find you’d become more enamored with the cardboard box it came in? Nintendo has expertly tapped into the limitless possibilities we felt as children with just a cardboard box and our imagination, and created Nintendo Labo. Labo let’s kids and adults alike build creations from cardboard, and then bring them to life using a Nintendo Switch. The kits are about building as much as playing, and there’s great potential for learning too.